If you’re ever in Sun Valley, Idaho and tired of fighting the celebrities and moguls for parking spaces, tee times and reservations, I’ve got the perfect antidote. You get to go somewhere that they know nothing about. Ooooh, it’s going to really bother them that you know something local and super special in the area that they’ve never even heard of.
I’m talking about a lovely and easy hike for the whole family. Twenty minutes from your car to a platform overlooking a waterfall in the middle of nowhere, Idaho — more specifically, Copper Basin.
I’ve been to this waterfall with my family many times, but only recently have I hiked beyond. Beyond the waterfall, the trail is barely discernible, vertical, and not for beginner hikers or very little children. But it’s devoid of people (it’s Idaho, folks — even on a Saturday in July, we did not pass a single person above the first waterfall.) and so peaceful.
There are more stages to the waterfall, each more rewarding than the last. My sneakers were sufficient for the hike.
Directions: From Ketchum, head up Sun Valley Road, toward the resort. When you get to the light at Saddle Road, check your mileage. You will be driving another 21 miles, straight from there, until you turn. You will pass the resort, pass the Hemingway Memorial (worth stopping at, by the way) and soon, the pavement will end and you will be driving on gravel. For Pete’s sake, SLOW DOWN. Seriously, slow down because you’re going over a trecherous mountain pass with no guard rail. This is part of the fun, right! Remember, the uphill car — that’s you right now — gets the right of way.
21 miles after that light in Sun Valley, you will make a RIGHT onto Forest Road 135 (Wild Horse Creek Ranch will be on your right, soon after you’ve made your turn)go 1.75 miles until the fork in the road — take the right fork/turn. Go about another 5 miles, (sorry, here’s where I get a little vague on directions, but honestly, this is the road that leads to the waterfall — super hard to miss.) and the road will be cuving around to the left. You will see “waterfall” signs. Follow them. The trailhead is where the extra-beautiful compost outhouse is. This is a wheelchair accessible trail: a nice, wide, not-at-all strenuous 20 minute walk to a beautiful waterfall. Great for families with little children and grandparents in tow.
The PS is that the compost outhouse is probably the nicest outhouse you’ll ever see. Remember to bring toilet paper!